Five Cool Diesel Cars You Can’t Buy in the U.S. — Plus Two You Might


To the average American car buyer, diesel is synonymous with truckers, farm equipment, and an upscale clothing brand. For Europeans however, diesel is the must-have fuel for those who can’t stomach the $8.70/gal (current average price in Germany) for gasoline. With diesel selling for $1 less per gallon and providing greater fuel economy, it’s no wonder more Europeans prefer diesel cars. While American fuel prices remain far cheaper, recent price hikes have had more people asking: where’s our diesel option?

A host of factors have contributed to the dearth of diesel cars here in the United States. Until 2007, the allowable sulfur content in American diesel fuel was far higher than in Europe, requiring manufacturers to completely re-engineer engines for our market. While the sulfur content is now the same, American limits on NOx and NO2 emissions are still significantly lower than their European counterparts, demanding use of an expensive urea-injection additive such as AdBlue to meet standards. Higher labor costs have also been an issue, as most diesels built in European countries suffer from unfavorable exchange rates when exported overseas. Building a diesel engine factory in either the U.S. or Mexico would reduce labor cost – if buyers can be found for the 350,000 units a year a typical $350 million factory puts out. Finally, EPA certification for a new engine adds even more to the bottom line. Continue reading “Five Cool Diesel Cars You Can’t Buy in the U.S. — Plus Two You Might”

2011 Audi Q7 TDI Diesel SUV: Review Roundup


The Audi Q7 TDI (Turbo Diesel Injection) diesel SUV is the German automaker’s diesel-burning, higher-efficiency version of its luxury Q7 SUV series. Audi has introduced an eight-speed automatic transmission, coupled with a scaled-down 3.0 liter diesel engine. Let’s see what auto reviewers are saying about the 2011 Q7 TDI.

2011 Audi Q7 TDI Diesel Reviews
2011 Audi Q7 TDI

Automotive Addict – 2011 Audi Q7 TDI Quattro SUV Review & Test Drive (5/31/11)

Automotive Addict says the Q7 TDI “is one of the best looking, comfortable, luxurious, fuel efficient and safe full-size sport utility vehicles in the segment.” Continue reading “2011 Audi Q7 TDI Diesel SUV: Review Roundup”

2012 Hybrid Cars in the USA: Here’s the Lineup


Update: We have now published the 2013 Hybrid Cars in the USA article.

In the market for a vehicle and thinking about buying a new hybrid car? 2012 is shaping to be an important year in the story of hybrid vehicles, as almost every major manufacturer will be offering, releasing, or announcing a hybrid product.

While the Tohuku earthquake in Japan has affected 2011 plans, the Japanese are muscling ahead with 2012 hybrid launches. The Germans have finally entered the hybrid market in a serious way, with BMW, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche all offering a hybrid product – especially on their SUVs. Of the domestic manufacturers, GM is still evolving their hybrid full-size SUVs, but is readying some car hybrids for 2012 that should give Ford’s dominance in domestic hybrid sales a strong challenge. Chrysler’s recent reorganization with Fiat means hybrid drivetrains won’t be expected from them until 2013 however.

The most exciting thing about the 2012 lineup is that hybrid technology has been embraced by the mainstream as an important way of improving the environmental impact of car usage. One study predicts that all new cars will have some level of hybridization by 2020.

So here is the lineup of 2012’s hybrid cars, SUVs, minivans and pickups. Please note that we define hybrid vehicles as ones that have a drivetrain that can be powered by its gasoline engine. See our 2012 Electric Car Lineup for vehicles with drivetrains powered only by their electric motor.

Audi Hybrids

Audi, as part of the massive VW universe (along with Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Skoda and Seat) has committed resources for hybrid models after witnessing their success here. While European markets are still more interested in diesel engines, Americans have been clamoring – and will now get – hybridized Audis, albeit slowly. Audi continues to maintain, though, that diesels are the superior engine of choice for efficiency.

2012 Hybrid Cars USA
2012 Audi Q5 Hybrid

Q5 Hybrid Quattro car – The first Audi hybrid car to reach our shores for sale, the Q5 mates a compact crossover body with an efficient all-wheel drivetrain. Utilizing a 208hp 4-cylinder engine as its base, Audi mates a 44hp electric motor to give its first hybrid the scoot of the V6 (0-60 in 7 flat) with economy better than the base 4 (an estimated 33 MPG combined). Audi claims the Q5 is able to run for almost 2 miles on electricity alone at speeds under 62 MPH, but few reviewers have been able to achieve that. Expect a 15% price premium, at an estimated MSRP of $48,000 when it goes on sale.

 

A6 Hybrid car (2012 or 2013) – At the January 2011 Detroit auto show, Audi unveiled an A6 sedan with a hybrid powertrain borrowed from the Q5. Despite the combination being showroom ready, Audi has not released an on-sale date for the hybrid sedan. Continue reading “2012 Hybrid Cars in the USA: Here’s the Lineup”

2012 Electric Cars in the USA: Here’s the Lineup


Mitsubishi MiEV electric car
Mitsubishi MiEV

Update: Our 2013 Electric Cars in the USA article is now available.

In the market for a vehicle and thinking about buying a new electric car in 2012? Electric vehicles (EVs) are coming into their own, and 2012 is a great year to be considering one.

While Nissan and Chevrolet are the mainstream muscle making up the meat of 2011’s electric car sales, newcomers like Tesla are still surging forward, with sales of over 1500 of its revolutionary Roadster model. Strong sales of conventional luxury cars and increased consumer interest in alternative energy have given confidence to the major luxury brands to develop electric vehicles. Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Infiniti and even Rolls Royce have shown a commitment to releasing electric automobiles in 2012 and beyond.

For the rest of the population, Ford is on track for 2012 launch dates of two EVs, Mitsubishi is launching the diminutive i MiEV, Toyota pushes ahead with its EV development and the Chinese are tipped to break into the American car market with an all-electric product. Other smaller players have announced 2012 on-sale dates as well.

If you’re in the market for an electric vehicle, don’t forget to check its “MPGe.” In November of 2010 the EPA announced the MPGe — a new equivalent mileage rating based on EPA’s formula, in which 33.7 kilowatt hours of electricity is equivalent to one gallon of gasoline. Look for the new rating in reviews and on window stickers in showrooms. Please note that we define electric vehicles as ones that have a drivetrain that is only powered by its electric motor. See our 2012 Hybrid Car Lineup for vehicles with drivetrains that can be powered by a gasoline engine.

Aptera Electric Cars

The unusual airplane-like Aptera 2e has been in gestation longer than the Volt, but currently does not have a firm on-sale date. Reservations are being accepted, but company spokespersons declined to offer any further information on availability. We suspect you’ll never see this car for sale, as we’ve been reading about delays for years.

Audi Electric Cars

Audi has shown a spate of concepts, all called e-Tron, featuring all-electric drive trains. The mighty R8 sports car has been converted into an all-electric concept, which is rumored for 2012 production. Audi has declined to comment on an on-sale date, but expect a price in excess of $150,000 for this gorgeous electric sports car. Continue reading “2012 Electric Cars in the USA: Here’s the Lineup”

2012 Diesel Cars in USA: Here’s the Lineup

2012 Volkswagan Passat Diesel
2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI courtesy of VW.com

Update: Our 2013 Diesel Cars in the USA article is now available!

In the market for a vehicle and thinking about buying a new diesel car in 2012? It’s an idea worth considering.

From images of long-haul trucking, to nightmares of sitting in the back of a grandparent’s noxious Olds vista cruiser diesel, Americans haven’t shown too much interest in diesel cars in the past. Yet with the economy still in the doldrums, and gas prices rising faster than an express elevator, diesel cars are suddenly getting a lot more attention.

The good news is that many of the world’s manufacturers make great diesel products. The bad news is that lack of domestic demand and tightening budgets mean that few have been certified for sale in the U.S. The EPA has more stringent requirements than Europe does for controlling NOx – Nitric Oxide, the key compound that produces smog. The technology to meet these standards exists, but it’s expensive (to develop, manufacture and certify), which is why many of the diesels you see on the market in the U.S. are at the high end of the price range.

This issue is also the reason why there are so many diesel cars available in other countries that are not available in the United States. Simply put, it’s so expensive to develop a diesel engine that meets US emissions standards that most manufacturers don’t bother. Particularly since diesels have never been a popular engine choice in the US market.

It also doesn’t help that the average price per gallon of diesel in the U.S. (as of June 2011) is 25 cents more than gasoline. However, a diesel’s increased miles per gallon means that it usually comes out ahead on overall savings, thus the new surge in consumer interest. Check out this article for more on the differences between American and European diesel markets.

Nonetheless, there are some excellent diesel alternative cars, SUVs and pick-up trucks for sale in America right now.

Here’s the lineup. We’re still adding photos of these cars as the 2012 photos become available. Continue reading “2012 Diesel Cars in USA: Here’s the Lineup”

10 Fun Facts About Electric Cars

Tesla electric car
CC Flickr photo of Tesla electric car courtesy of faceme.

Electric cars are getting a lot of attention lately. With a growing concern about the impacts that driving has on our environment, consumers and automakers are moving towards more sustainable models. Electric cars are just like regular cars, but they have electric motors that run on electricity from a battery, instead of (or sometimes in addition to) an internal combustion energy that burns gasoline. This means reduced or no greenhouse-gas emissions. While some electric vehicle models feature a small gas engine to compliment the electric drivetrain, some models run on battery power alone.

Here’s a list of 10 fun facts about electric cars: Continue reading “10 Fun Facts About Electric Cars”

Future Electric Cars: 2012 and Beyond

Update: Our 2013 Electric Cars in the USA article is now available.

The future’s looking bright for sustainable cars. You may have read our article on Electric Cars for 2011 and wondered what is ahead for 2012 and beyond. Here’s a preview of what’s in development. We’ll provide specs where we can, but as many of these are early-stage concepts, you can’t really take the car company’s word for it. Once the automotive press gets ahold of it and consumers can drive it, then we will have a good idea of each car’s strengths and weaknesses.

To briefly recap, electric cars have an electric drivetrain with power coming from powerful, high-tech batteries. Electric cars can be plug-ins, or feature a small, fuel-powered internal combustion engine that works as a generator to recharge the batteries. Hybrids feature a mixed electric/gas-powered drivetrain. We’ll just be covering electric cars here.

Future Electric Cars 2012
The Mitsubishi “i”

Continue reading “Future Electric Cars: 2012 and Beyond”

Why Get a Hybrid Car?

Ever wondered if it really makes sense to buy a hybrid car?

If you’re frustrated with the environmental impact of fossil fuel consumption, as well as paying nearly $4 a gallon at the gas pump, you may want to consider buying a hybrid electric vehicle.

Why Buy a Hybrid
CC flickr photo courtesy of Beth and Christian

What is a Hybrid?

Hybrids, like Toyota’s popular Prius model, use a combination of a small, gas-powered internal combustion engine and electric motors to power the drivetrain. Electricity is stored in your car’s batteries. A typical car has one battery, to act as a starter and power electric features in your car, such as power windows or locks. A hybrid might have an array of batteries, which do all those things, but also powers the drivetrain itself. The Prius, like many hybrids, has an acceleration and speed threshold where the battery itself can power your car, up to a certain point. When your battery power is spent, or if the car needs to accelerate faster than the battery can handle by itself, the gas engine is fired up and does the work. Many hybrids also feature regenerative braking. This means that the force of your brakes is harnessed by small generators that give your battery a small charge. Your gas engine is also used as a generator to recharge your battery. Continue reading “Why Get a Hybrid Car?”

BMW ActiveE electric car available in USA in fall 2011?

2011 BMW ActiveE electric car

There’s a new fully electric car in town. It’s the BMW ActiveE electric car, and it’s a fully electric vehicle based on the sporty, driver friendly BMW 1 series platform.

According to reporting at CNET, 700 of the new BMW electric cars will come to the United States this fall by lease only. It will be a 24 month lease that will cost $499 per month, with $2,250 down.

BMW plans to use feedback from the leasing experiment to incorporate into a line of fully electric cars that you can purchase, later.

Here’s the BMW manufacturer page for the ActiveE car, for more information.

BMW ActiveE electric automobile stats

ActiveE Energy consumption
Combined: 14 kWh/100 km
Urban: 10,5 kWh/100 km
Extra-urban: 16,0 kWh/100 km

ActiveE Charging times
4–5 h at 230 V, 32 A
8–10 h at 230 V, 16 A connected to a standard three-wire socket

Here’s what BMW says about the electric motor:

“The electric motor sits directly on the rear axle – with no clutch, manual or automatic transmission. As a synchronous motor it develops its full torque from a standing start and accelerates the BMW ActiveE to 100 km/h in 9 seconds. Top speed is limited to 145 km/h, which is suitable for everyday use.

Furthermore, the electric motor of the BMW ActiveE also acts as a generator and supplies the high-voltage batteries with the kinetic energy liberated as soon as the driver releases the accelerator. In urban traffic, braking with the engine alone is sufficient in 75 per cent of all cases. The footbrake thus becomes – almost – superfluous. The effect is to extend the range of the BMW ActiveE by up to 20 per cent. In this way, you can enjoy 160 km of driving pleasure under real-life conditions without emissions. With the air conditioning or heating on the maximum setting, the range is somewhat lower, but correspondingly higher when exploited to the optimum and with support from the Eco Pro mode.”

Anyone plan to see if they are able to lease one of these?

Best efficient SUVs with higher gas mileage for 2011

Looking for the best SUV when it comes to good gas mileage and efficiency? Here’s our roundup of some top options for 2011.

Environmentalists have an uneasy relationship with the sports utility vehicle (SUV). Cars are one of the largest contributors to airborne pollution and climate change. SUVs, with their low fuel-efficiency and wild popularity in the last two decades, seem to epitomize a disregard for emissions that troubles environmentalists. No popular model raised more ire than the Hummer (which had an estimated 14 miles per gallon highway and 10 mpg city).

While it can’t be said that traditional SUVs are in any way “green,” they are still a popular choice. With economic conditions improving and new energy-efficient technologies coming to the marketplace, many car manufacturers are making their products more environmentally-friendly in hopes that SUV sales will rebound. Here’s a look at a few options. If you absolutely, positively need an SUV, but want to minimize pollution and the high cost of fuel, these are some of your best options.

Best environmental SUV
CC flickr photo courtesy of tom.arthur - The Ford Escape Hybrid

Continue reading “Best efficient SUVs with higher gas mileage for 2011”

Electric Car Conversion Kits Explained

Ever wondered about converting your car into an electric car? Is it even possible? Believe it or not, some people do convert gas cars into electric ones themselves.

Many people depend on cars for transportation. If you have a lengthy commute to work or live in a rural area without public transit, owning a car is vital. But cars, along with industries, are one of the two largest sources of air pollution, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Emissions from cars contribute to a great deal to climate change. An electric car conversion kit could be your solution.

In a report entitled “Plugged In,” the WWF states that electric cars “can dramatically reduce the crude oil dependency of automotive transport in a highly efficient and sustainable manner.”

Electric car conversion kit
CC flickr photo courtesy of rezanaghibi

Continue reading “Electric Car Conversion Kits Explained”

High Performance Electric Cars and Hybrid Vehicles 2011

Do you have a little extra to spend on your next car? Do you want something with a little “extra something” under the hood? What if that “extra something” is an electric or hybrid powertrain?

Hybrid and electric cars have caught on in a major way. Most major automakers are now offering hybrid options for select models and the technology is improving all the time. It’s now possible to find high-performance electric or hybrid sports cars and luxury sedans. If you’re in the market for a car like this, keep reading. Here’s a rundown about what’s rolling off the line for 2011.

High performance electric hybrid
The SSI 65 Coupe

Continue reading “High Performance Electric Cars and Hybrid Vehicles 2011”

Hybrid Towing? 2011 Hybrids That Can Tow

Hybrids and towing are two words that don’t usually go together in our common vernacular. I mean seriously, can you picture a Prius towing a boat? But it’s the 21st century now, and automotive technology seems to advance about 10 years every 12 months.

As a result, they can now make monster hybrids.

No, really. Just look out your window: that UPS truck, or that power company boom truck might be one of the new commercial diesel hybrids. They make hybrid race cars too (the Porsche 911 GT3 R). So, why not make a hybrid that can…tow a boat?

2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid & 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid

These full-sized trucks use a 6.0 liter V8, with an electric motor to create 332 combined horsepower & 367 lb-ft of torque. And that’s enough grunt to pull 6,100 lbs.

But, if you’re used to the capacity of a gas powered vehicle, that might not seem like a lot, especially when you consider that these trucks use a 6 liter V8. The gasoline equivalent has just a slightly larger 6.2 liter engine, and it can tow a whopping 10,600 lbs. That makes the hybrid Silverado / Sierra look much less practical on paper.

To see the real hybrid advantage, you have to look at the gas mileage numbers, which are especially good for city driving (don’t be surprised – it’s not a commuter vehicle, it’s a vehicle you can actually use to get things done, a “mobile office” that tows).

The Silverado 1500 Hybrid and Sierra 1500 Hybrid are EPA rated at 20 city / 23 highway / 20 combined. By comparison, the 6.2 liter Silverado/Sierra can only manage 13/18/14. That’s more than a 40-50% gain in gas mileage for the hybrid in city driving – depending on the kind of driving you do, that can really add up in your favor.
2011 Chevy owners like this gain in MPG, and want more: they wish they could plug this hybrid truck in, for example, and drive more in electric mode (how about driving up to 35 mph while staying in electric mode, instead of topping out at 20 or 30 mph?) for even better mileage and more savings.

To make the choice a bit sweeter, you won’t pay a lot more for these lighter impact, light hauling vehicles than you might for another type of hybrid that can’t get that work done.

The Chevy goes for $38,340, and the GMC for $38,710.

2011 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid and the 2011 GMC Yukon Hybrid

These icons of suburbia use the same hybrid powertrain as the trucks mentioned above, and they can tow 6,200 lbs each, an increase of 100 lbs (that’s like, what, one really large dog and his sack of food…could be useful).

Again, with the hybrid-gas model comparison, a 5.3 liter gas Tahoe can tow 8,500 lbs, but its gas mileage is 17 mpg combined, vs. 20 combined mpg for the hybrid. That can add up with this beast, and the stats get more impressive when you look just at city driving.

The biggest difference is in what you’ll pay: prices start at $50,735 for the Tahoe and $51,200 for the Yukon.

Owners report that their purchase is worth the price, whether they’re dedicated Tahoe drivers on their third one, or people buying one of these large SUVs for the first time, and who are ultimately glad they shelled out the cash.

2011 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid and the 2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid

The surprise heavy-haulin’ hybrids of 2011 are none other than the Touareg, and the Cayenne. Two of the most over-engineered SUV’s on the market today.

Famous for engineering prowess, the Germans created a hybrid system that’s as powerful as it is efficient. Using a Supercharged 3.0 liter V6, mated to an electric motor and All-Wheel Drive, the VW/Porsche hybrids produce 380-net horsepower, and 425 lb-ft of torque.

That’s get-up and go to pull 7,700 lbs…with a hybrid! Bravo, Germany.

Compared to the American hybrids, the VW/Porsche hybrids can produce more power from a smaller hybrid system. And you’ll pay more for that technology:

$60,565 for the VW Touareg Hybrid, and $67,700 for the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid. But remember the old saying: you get what you pay for.

Those driving a VW Touareg say this hybrid is stellar: reliable (more so than previous year VWs), and fun to drive—even more so than higher-priced SUVs. Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid drivers are (no surprise here) similarly pleased, even with their reported 18-19.5 mpg.

A handy online tool for prospective buyers is a customizable cost-to-own calculator—select new vehicles, plug in about how much you drive in a year, and compare the resulting estimates of total cost to own and cost per mile. Just another nice way to sort out your options.

And if you’re wondering how hybrid redesigning affects vehicle safety, then check out the ratings at safercar.gov. The ratings system has become more rigorous, and more cars and SUVs are being tested with these new standards all the time.

Towing with a hybrid. Ridiculous? Useful? What’s your take? Leave a comment!

Teddy Field got his start in the auto industry at the age of 17. He is a recognized car dealer sales & management consultant, an automotive journalist, and a regular contributor to http://www.bestcardealsnewyork.com.

Ultimate Electric Luxury Car? The Rolls-Royce 102XE Phantom Experimental Electric

Let’s face it. We probably can’t afford it anyway. But isn’t it nice to dream?

Introduced at the Geneva 2011 auto show, the Rolls-Royce 102XE Phantom electric car is a real, functioning prototype. It could be available in two years, if the demand is there.

The BBC even got a chance to talk to the CEO and drive it.

What’s notable? Let’s see.

  • It has a regular charging socket, but it also comes with an induction plate that installs in your garage. Park on top of it, and it charges!
  • Estimated range of around 125 miles per charge.
  • According to the BBC, “The only sound is a slight tyre noise, and even that is barely audible inside the luxury car’s insulated cabin.”
  • Crave covers the 102XE here and here.

    Rolls-Royce has an official web site for it, naturally.

    Best diesel cars of 2011, served up

    Remixed CC Flickr photo courtesy of culinaryfool.

    Wondering about the best diesel cars in the US?

    In America, diesel powered cars have always been like…eating a boiled egg & plain toast for breakfast. You get everything that you need, but there’s no exciting bacon, or soul-warming sausage gravy.

    But now, car makers are really starting to expand their, uh…menus.

    Now, you can have a Mercedes E350 BlueTEC with a big serving of German-luxury strudel. Or you could get a plate of VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI, with a side-order of practicality.

    The choices really are amazing. But, what are the best dishes on the menu? What do the critics really order, when they’re paying for the meal?

    Let’s find out…

     

    Best Luxury Diesel Car of 2011

    So today’s most expensive diesel luxury vehicle is the Mercedes GL350 BlueTEC, but does that mean it’s also the best? It does have a trick 4WD system, and all of the leather, wood and toys that you would expect in a Mercedes Benz. (And what ever happened to the promised Mercedes S350 4MATIC BlueTEC diesel car, anyway?)  Think of it as a Denny’s skillet special: heaps of potato, sausage, mushrooms, onions, Canadian bacon, and cheese. Lots of cheese.

    While that would be a great way to start the day, you’re going to need a nap by 10:30.

    No, to find the best oil-burning luxury car of 2011, you’re going to have to look at the back of the menu: down at the bottom, next to the a-la-cart list, you’ll find the Audi A3 TDI:

    Audi A3 clean diesel TDI 2011

    This hip little wagon features a perfect blend of luxury and sport. Its torquey little TDI provides just enough oomph for those occasionally spirited drives. And the interior is typical Audi – which is to say; it’s niiiice.

    Plus, it’s a wagon, so you can carry stuff. And with a starting price of $30,250, it’s a luxury bargain.

    MPG: 30 city / 42 highway.

    The 2011 Audi A3 TDI breakfast comparison: a Monte Cristo

     

    Best Fuel Efficient Diesel Car of 2011

    This year, the economy trophy goes to the Volkswagen Group and their 2.0 liter Turbo Diesel powerplant, the TDI, which can achieve 30 MPG in the city, and 42 on the highway…no matter what car it’s propelling. And by the way, that’s the crappy EPA estimate of their gas mileage. Check out the eye-popping real life mileage people are getting.

    You’ll find this thrifty little gem under the hood of four cars, ranging from compact to wagon:

    2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI ($23,225),

    2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI ($22,995),

    2011 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI ($24,995)

    …and the just mentioned 2011 Audi A3 TDI ($30,250).

    We covered the Volkswagen diesel models together in depth here.

    Sorry, I can’t think of a breakfast comparison for this one.

    Wait!

    The Golf is like a Rootie Tootie Fresh & Fruity combo; the Jetta is like a sausage, egg & cheese croissant; the Jetta Wagon is like maple and brown sugar oatmeal, with some warm Vermont maple syrup on top. And of course, the A3 TDI is our Monte Cristo.

    Hungry yet?

     

    Best Looking Diesel Car of 2011

    2011 clean diesel Jetta TDI car

    There’s actually several 2011 diesel cars that look nice. But the winner is the redesigned 2011 Volkswagen Jetta Clean Diesel TDI.

    VW’s aggressive new front end blends well with the Jetta’s clean body lines, making it look (slightly) aggressive, yet civilized. It’s the kind of car that mom can drive everyday, but when she parks behind dad, he might actually want to take her car.

    Like our choices? Disagree? Are you driving one of these? Leave a comment!

    Review Roundup: 2011 Audi A3 Clean Diesel TDI

    2011 Audi A3 TDI clean diesel car

    The USA is a big country: there’s 9,826,000 square miles, and 307 million people. By comparison, Europe covers just 3,930,000 miles, yet there’s 852 million people there. Cram that many more people into an area that’s a third the size of the U.S., and you could see where size would become an issue – especially when it comes to parking a car.

    That’s one reason why small hatchbacks are so popular over there. They’re easy to park, they have lots of room, and they get great gas mileage. Which is important too, because gas can cost up to $8 per gallon in some parts of Europe.

    So, if you lived over there, the most logical car to buy would be a diesel hatchback. But that sounds even more boring to take on the road than a base-model Prius – or does it?

    The 2011 Audi A3 TDI is a luxury version of the popular Euro diesel hatchback and, named the 2010 Green Car of the Year, has become a strong seller in the U.S. It has standard leather, the S Line exterior pack with spoilers, badges and 17-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, satellite radio, and of course, an economical 2.0 TDI engine.

    But the diesel found in this Audi is a far cry from the noisy, stinky clatter-box that most Americans used to assume they would be getting. This 2.0 liter, direct-injected (called Common Rail in diesel-speak) oil burner is both responsive, and earth-friendly. Also found in the Volkswagen Jetta/Golf TDI, this engine uses a vapor trap to capture NOx emissions, then it routes them back to the engine to be re-burned during combustion. As a result, the Audi A3 TDI emits just 0.07 grams of NOx per mile, which is quite impressive for a diesel.

    Besides the cleanliness and the fuel economy (30/42 MPG), this TDI produces enough torque to provide satisfying acceleration. Rated at 140-hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, this engine can propel the A3 TDI from 0-60 in just 8.9 seconds – that’s not bad for what’s basically an economy car. You can have a green, economical car that’s not terrible to drive.

    And what’s more, since Audi is a luxury brand, you can outfit your A3 TDI with all sorts of goodies. There’s a Sport Package with 18-inch wheels and a stiffer suspension, a Convenience Package with upgraded BOSE audio, automatic lights, wipers and (dimming) mirrors, and parking sensors (in case you can’t drive), a Cold Weather Pack with heated seats, mirrors and washer nozzles, a Bluetooth Pack, a twin-pane sunroof, Navigation, rear-side airbags, and a broad assortment of interior and exterior trim packages.

    By the time you add on all of the options, the 2011 Audi A3 TDI can get pretty expensive, especially when you consider that it has the same chassis and engine as the VW Golf/Jetta TDI. Some consumers writing on Edmunds.com feel that, for the price, Audi scrimped on some basic features and risks missing their target market. (The fact that the A3 TDI does not come with standard transmission or the fabled Audi Quattro AWD turns off some potential buyers from the get-go.)

    Others say that doesn’t detract from its overall smooth handling and responsiveness, and that the Audi A3 TDI is a real step up from their other economy cars. And, besides, studies show that diesel cars easily recoup their initially high price tag – they have a lower “total cost of ownership” thanks to better fuel economy and resale value.

    Do you own an Audi A3 clean diesel?

    If so, leave a comment and tell us what you think about it, and what kind of gas mileage you’re getting in the real world.

    Teddy Field got his start in the auto industry at the age of 17. He is a recognized car dealer sales & management consultant, an automotive journalist, and a regular contributor to http://www.bestcardealsnewyork.com.

    Best Gas Mileage 2011 Diesel Pickups and SUVs

    Looking for a list of the most fuel efficient diesel pickup and SUV models in the US market that get the best gas mileage? You’ve come to the right place.

    Americans love their SUVs.

    They’re tall, so mom has a commanding view of the road, and they’re big enough to haul a team of soccer players, complete with their gear. (If you’re single, they’re big enough for your dogs/mountain bikes/entire Star Wars collection). Plus, some of them can even go off road (handy if the soccer field gets wet).

    Pickup trucks are equally popular with Americans, but usually for more practical reasons. They can go from the jobsite to the football field and still look good. You can go through all sorts of terrain, while carrying massive amounts of…whatever. In fact, those Super-Duper Duty ones can even tow trains and jumbo jets.

    But the one thing that neither of these kinds of vehicles are good at is getting good fuel mileage – just look at some scary MPG stats from dedicated truck owners. Until now, that is.

    More and more consumers are demanding an alternative to expensive, gas burning engines, which is one reason that hybrids have become so popular. However, some schools of thought suggest that mining for the raw materials used in a hybrid battery can cause even more environmental damage than the emissions from a diesel.

    With an eye on US environmental regulations, many European car makers are designing diesel engines that will comply with our strict emission rules.

    American automakers are getting on the diesel bandwagon too, by offering more powerful and efficient diesel engines in their most popular trucks.

    But sadly, there isn’t much of a selection yet.

    For diesel powered SUVs, there’s the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg TDI, the 2011 BMW X5 xDrive35d, the 2011 Audi Q7 TDI and the Mercedes ML350 BlueTEC.

    Although these are expensive, they are luxury SUVs. Don’t forget, “what you see on today’s luxury car, will be standard on tomorrow’s base model”. So, think of these as a sign of things to come.

    2011 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Sport

    Base price: $47,950

    Engine: 3.0 liter V6 TDI – 225-hp – 406 lb-ft torque – AWD

    Fuel Economy: 19/28

    Fuel Tank Capacity: 26.4 gallons

    Greenhouse Gasses Emitted per Year: 7.66 (tons)

    Highlights: Standard navigation, leather, xeon headlights, rear-view camera, Bluetooth/iPod, 18-inch wheels.

    2011 Mercedes Benz ML350 BlueTEC

    Base price: $50,490

    Engine: 3.0 liter V6 TDI – 210-hp – 400 lb-ft torque – AWD

    Fuel Economy: 18/25

    Fuel Tank Capacity: 25.1 gallons

    Greenhouse Gasses Emitted per Year: 8.02 (tons)

    Highlights: The Mercedes doesn’t offer much in the way of standard equipment. So, if you want one that has leather and navigation, you’re going to have to order the Leather Package for $1,780, & the Premium 1 package for $4,000. Otherwise, you’re going to get vinyl seats and a steering wheel…for Fifty-Grand.

    2011 Audi Q7 TDI Premium

    Base price: $51,450

    Engine: 3.0 liter V6 TDI – 225-hp – 406 lb-ft torque – AWD

    Fuel Economy: 17/25

    Fuel Tank Capacity: 26.4 gallons

    Greenhouse Gasses Emitted per Year: 8.42 (tons)

    Highlights: Standard leather, LED tail lights, parking sensors, heated seats, power tailgate, Bluetooth/iPod, 19-inch wheels & 7-passenger seating.

    2011 BMW X5 xDrive35d

    Base price: $51,800

    Engine: 3.0 liter inline-6 TDI – 265-hp – 425 lb-ft torque – AWD

    Fuel Economy: 19/26

    Fuel Tank Capacity: 22.5 gallons

    Greenhouse Gasses Emitted per Year: 7.66 (tons)

    Highlights: Standard navigation, leather, rear-seat TV system, satellite radio, head-up display, parking sensors.

     

    Diesel trucks

    Diesel powered pickups are limited to the Ford SuperDuty, the Chevrolet HD, and the Dodge 2500/3500. However, these are ¾ ton – 1 ton trucks.

    None of the popular ½ ton models are available with a diesel engine. And, none of the ¾ ton (and up) trucks are required to have their fuel mileage certified by the EPA.

    This is because they’re considered to be commercial vehicles. Plus, there’s a mind-boggling array of mechanical options (like axle ratios, transmissions, etc.) which can effect the fuel mileage.

    Since there are no official MPG numbers for these trucks, the fuel mileages listed below are based on owner accounts, and can vary based on the model, and chosen equipment.

    The base prices listed are for a ¾ ton, regular cab, 2WD with an automatic transmission, diesel engine, and standard equipment. Once you start adding on the options, these diesel pickups can eclipse $40,000 real quick.

    2011 Ram 2500/3500

    Base price: $27,450

    Engine: 6.7 liter inline-6 TDI – 350-hp – 650 lb-ft torque – RWD

    Fuel Economy: 13-15 mpg (est)

    Fuel Tank Capacity: 34 gallons

    NOx Gas Emitted per Mile: 0.2 grams

    Highlights: The Cummins diesel in these Ram trucks uses special chambers to collect polluting gasses, then the system heats up, burning off the pollutants. Here, some tips for drivers tailored to the Dodge owner.

    2011 Ford F250 / F350 / F450 / F550 SuperDuty

    Base price: $36,340

    Engine: 6.7 liter V8 TDI – 400-hp – 800 lb-ft torque – RWD

    Fuel Economy: 15/22 (est)

    Fuel Tank Capacity: 37.5 gallons

    NOx Gas Emitted per Mile: 0.2 grams

    Highlights: Ford’s Power Stroke diesel uses an injector to spray urea into the exhaust. The heat from the exhaust turns the urea to ammonia, which then turns the NOx gasses into nitrogen gas, and water inside of a specially designed catalytic convertor. Drivers are already reporting first-hand on higher MPG here and here.

     

    2011 Chevrolet 2500HD / 3500HD

    Base price: $37,355

    Engine: 6.6 liter V8 TDI – 397-hp – 765 lb-ft torque – RWD

    Fuel Economy: 13/19 (est)

    Fuel Tank Capacity: 36 gallons

    NOx Gas Emitted per Mile: 0.2 grams

    Highlights: Chevrolet’s Duramax diesel uses a similar urea injection system as Ford’s Power Stroke diesel.

    But regardless of how you look at the high initial cost, you still wind up with a vehicle that gets good fuel mileage for its class, and that’s a real boon with predicted gas hikes what they are. Plus, the long-term reliability of diesel engines is better established and proven than the more complicated hybrid.

    Teddy Field got his start in the auto industry at the age of 17. He is a recognized car dealer sales & management consultant, an automotive journalist, and a regular contributor to http://www.bestcardealsnewyork.com.

    Subaru Diesel Cars: Why You Can’t Buy One in the USA

    Subaru diesel wagon. You can look, but you can't buy! At least not in the USA.

    The reason that you don’t see more diesels on US roads has to do with economics. Money makes the world go ’round, and as you’d expect, it’s the main reason for our “diesel deficiency”. In the United States, the federal government taxes every gallon of fuel sold. And historically, there’s always been a higher demand for gasoline here. So, our tax system is biased toward gasoline, making it cheaper to buy than diesel.

    It’s the exact opposite in Europe. Diesel is cheaper to buy than “petrol”. However, cheaper means $6-7 per gallon, vs. $7-8 for a gallon of gas, so you can see why there’s more diesels over there.

    European automakers simply responded to market demands, and came up with a wide range of diesel vehicles, allowing them to produce diesel engines at a lower cost. (For those who want to see what they’re missing right now, or plan a rental for their next European vacation, there are plenty of detailed reviews of current European models.)

    In this country, gas is still (relatively) cheap. So a popular choice for an efficient vehicle is the hybrid. You may have noticed just how many hybrid models are available today. They come in all shapes and sizes, from the sporty Honda CR-Z to the massive Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid.

    Diesel vehicles, however, still don’t make good business sense, like the hybrid. You’re asking the customer to pay an additional $5-7k for a diesel vehicle, then you’re asking them to fuel it with the most expensive fuel.

    From an environmental standpoint, modern diesel engines emit a very low amount of NOx and CO2, and recent advances have made them much more efficient. and they top hybrids in the fact that certain materials used to produce various components on a hybrid have to be mined. When considering a green car, can you imagine the relative environmental impact of that nickel mine needed for the hybrid? Let alone the fact that all those hybrid battery packs may one day wind up in a landfill.

    But back to the economics of diesels.

    German automakers seem dead-set on exporting their “clean diesels” to the United States. However, to sell a diesel engine in this country, it must be equipped with an exhaust after-treatment system, and a special fuel injection system in order to meet our strict air quality rules.

    European emissions rules allow a diesel to emit up to 0.29 grams of nitrous oxide (NOx) per mile — which is about what the typical diesel school bus or trash truck emitted 5 years ago.

    US regulations on the other hand, only allow a diesel to emit 0.07 grams of NOx per mile, making compliance a costly effort.

    Smaller firms like Honda or Subaru would have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to develop a compliant engine, for a historically small US market. So it’s tough for many of them to justify such a big investment.

    The Germans however, seem willing to take this risk. And if history is any indication, they’re the ones that can garner mass public acceptance for a new technology.

    Airbags, ABS — the Mercedes S-Class was the first car in this country to have them as standard equipment. As the old saying goes “if you want to see what tomorrows car will look like, just look at what Mercedes is doing today”.

    The Germans were also involved in bringing us those annoying in-car command/infotainment systems. So, let’s hope they can work their magic again, and convince Americans to buy more diesels — with a big marketing campaign to sell the car to a potentially unreceptive public.

    Want to make yourself feel sad and see what you’re missing? Check out this site with the 2011 European Subaru diesel models that we can’t buy here in the USA: http://www.boxerdiesel.com/

    What’s your prediction? When will the first Japanese clean diesel make it over to the US market?

    Teddy Field got his start in the auto industry at the age of 17. He is a recognized car dealer sales & management consultant, an automotive journalist, and a regular contributor to bestcardealsnewyork.com.

    Review: 2011 Clean Diesel VW Jetta and Golf

    Nowadays, if you want a car that has great fuel economy, the obvious choice would be a hybrid – they make them in all shapes and sizes, and you can even still get a tax credit on some of them.

    But what if you don’t like the idea of driving around in a laptop-on-wheels? (remember, a hybrid needs NASA-grade computers in order to work)

    Well, there are other options – Namely clean-diesel powered vehicles.

    Two of these options come from Volkswagen. And contrary to popular belief, these diesel cars are very, very enticing.

    The 2011 Jetta TDI and the 2011 Golf TDI are two compacts with sharp, European looks that both feel very well made.

    But the real story is under the hood.

    Open it, and you’ll find the one of the “greenest” diesel engines ever produced; the 2.0 liter TDI with common-rail (direct) injection, and a nice, big turbo.

    Unlike most clean diesel engines, VW’s 2.0 TDI ditches the urea injector (urea is injected into the exhaust to convert the NOx gasses into nitrogen, then water), in favor of a storage canister, which stores the gasses, until they can be re-burned by the engine.

    This system is 50-state legal, and it emits just 0.07 grams of CO2 per mile. By comparison, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata 4-cyl emits exactly the same amount of CO2.

    In fact, this motor won Volkswagen entry to the Guinness Book of World Records for the Lowest Fuel Consumption Across 48-States. Thanks to the efforts of hyper-milers John & Helen Taylor.

    On an economy run in 2009, the couple achieved an incredible average of 58.86 MPG behind the wheel of their bone-stock 2009 VW Jetta TDI.

    During their record-setting trip, the Taylor’s traveled 9,419 miles in 20 days, and saw 60+ mpg’s on several occasions. And while Shell provided the fuel free of charge, it’s estimated that the trip cost just $0.069 per mile, for a total cost of just $653!

    But there’s a lot more to these cars than just great fuel economy.

    2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI clean diesel car

    Introduced at the recent Detroit Auto Show, the Jetta was completely redesigned for 2011.

    This new, Mexican-made Jetta is 1-inch wider & 3.5 inches longer than its predecessor, allowing for an extra 2-inches of rear legroom, without sacrificing trunk space.

    Even though the new Jetta is larger than the old one, they actually managed to shave 80lbs from the curb weight,which will help both handling and fuel economy.

    Thankfully, VW designers avoided the whole “dramatic curve” theme that seems to be so popular these days. Instead, the outside is handsomely styled, using crisp lines that won’t look dated in a year. Plus, the front fascia and mildly bulging wheel arches give the new Jetta an (appealingly) menacing appearance.

    Inside, the 2011 Jetta has a very upscale interior, with plenty of soft-touch plastic and high quality materials. And since the Jetta TDI is the top-of-the line model, you get all sorts of standard equipment, including: 12v power-outlets front and rear, satellite radio with a USB & iPod interface, side and side curtain airbags, 4-wheel disk brakes with stability and traction control, and of course, power everything.

    As a competitor to the Toyota Corolla & Honda Civic then, the 2011 Jetta comes off as more upscale, and grown-up. But it gets even better.

    Remember that diesel under the hood? Well, it churns out 140-hp, and 236 ft-lb of torque. In layman’s terms, torque is the measure of “wheel-twist” produced by the engine. Thus, the higher the torque figure, the more “grunt” the car will have from a dead stop, or when you go to pass someone.

    Thanks to the diesel’s generous torque figure, the 2011 Jetta TDI can manage a very respectable 0-60 time of 8.7 seconds. And since all of that torque is available at a very low 1,750 rpm, the 2011 Jetta TDI feels more powerful than you’d expect.

    Why choose the Jetta TDI?

    Resale value: Diesel cars enjoy much lower depreciation than their gas-powered equivalents.

    Fuel economy: The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI is rated at 30 mpg city / 42 mpg highway. And that figure stays the same with either the standard 6-speed manual, or the optional 6-speed DSG.

    Size/quality: This is a roomy car, that’s well made and full of luxury-grade equipment.

    2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI clean diesel car

    The Volkswagen Golf TDI is arguably one of the nicest cars in its class. It features an upscale interior, with top-notch materials and excellent build quality. Plus, it’s loaded with plenty of useful features, and a ton of standard equipment.

    Available as a 3-door hatch or a 5-door hatch, the 2011 VW Golf TDI offers ample room for 4 adults (you could fit 5 in a pinch, but that poor soul had better be skinny).

    Where the Golf really excels is in the cargo department. Leave the rear seats up, and you have 12.4 cubic feet of room. Fold the 60/40 split (with a pass-through slot behind the armrest for long skinny items…like a fishing pole) seats down and the cargo hold swells to 46 cubic feet. Or, about the size of a 1-bedroom Manhattan apartment.

    One of the Golf’s many useful features is the Cargo Protection System. This is a collection of small L-shaped plastic pieces with Velcro on the bottom. You can secure them to the floor around stuff that you don’t want rolling around. Like bottles…or bowling balls.

    Some of the Golf TDI’s standard equipment includes: power everything, satellite radio with touchscreen controls, steering wheel controls, Bluetooth, USB and iPod connectivity, 17-inch wheels, sport suspension, fog lights, heated mirrors, a full complement of airbags, and 4-wheel disk brakes with ABS, ESC, ASR, EBD, HBD…etc, etc.

    Under the hood, you get the same 2.0 TDI found in the Jetta TDI. It gets 30 mpg city / 41 mpg highway, comparable to the Jetta. But where the two differ is in their 0-60 times: the Jetta TDI takes 8.7 seconds, and the Golf TDI takes just 8.6 seconds!

    Sure, we know that’s not much of a difference. But the Golf is (slightly) lighter than the Jetta, so it feels more “lively”. Plus, the optional 6-speed DSG’s steering wheel paddles add to the fun-factor even more.

    Federal Tax Credits for Clean Diesels

    To encourage clean diesel sales, the Federal Government offered tax credits called Advanced Lean Burn Technology Motor Vehicle Tax Credit.

    These credits applied to the 2009-2010 Jetta TDI & 2009-2010 Golf TDI, and they started at $1,300. With the sales limit set at 60,000 vehicles, the credit dropped to $650 once 30,000 TDI’s were sold.

    The credit was fully phased out on December 31 2010. But don’t worry – when you take into account the money you’re going to save on fuel, plus the higher than average resale value, you’re still coming out ahead with either of these clean diesel vehicles.

    Do you own a 2011 diesel Jetta or Golf? Leave a comment and let us know about your experience with it!

    Teddy Field got his start in the auto industry at the age of 17. He is a recognized car dealer sales & management consultant, an automotive journalist, and a regular contributor to http://www.bestcardealsnewyork.com.

    2011 Hybrid cars: here’s the lineup

    When the first hybrid cars started to roll out several years ago, it pretty much took the world by surprise, but these days, you can drive down the highway or even side street without seeing some sort of energy efficient car. Manufacturers across the board are becoming more conscious to the needs and wants of their consumers for fuel efficient and environmentally friendly cars, trucks and SUVs.

    In 2011, we’ll see more hybrid cars on the market than ever. You may recognize come industry regulars, but keep an eye out for some new models from manufacturers who are just getting started on the hybrid front.

    Here we go with the 2011 hybrid cars, trucks and SUVs.

    Acura – Acura does not offer a hybrid model.

    Audi – According to Edmunds.com, this is finally the year for Audi to launch its long-awaited Q5 Hybrid model for 2011. Because the rumors have been circulating about their debut hybrid model 2008, we’re not holding our breath.

    BMW – In last year’s 2010 hybrid lineup BMW had two completely different hybrid models. Now it seems BMW is adding to their family of hybrid cars and SUVs. The newest model in their fleet is the 4-wheel drive, ActiveHybrid X5 projected to launch in fall of this year. They’ve kept the Active Hybrid X6 model and made the ActiveHybrid 7 into two similar models: the ActiveHybrid 750Li and the ActiveHybrid 750i.


    Image for the ActiveHybrid 750Li from BMW.

    Image for the ActiveHybrid 750i from BMW.

    Except for about a $4,000 MSRP difference for a few, minor creature comforts in the Li model (i.e., self-leveling air suspension, rear vanity mirrors, etc.), the two seem almost identical in features. Both have a 4.4 liter V-8 engine with TwinPower Turbo technology, and both use a 120-volt, lithiom-ion battery with Brake Energy Regeneration. With a 440 horsepower engine, these BMWs boast to be “The Fastest Hybrid[s] in the World.”

    Buick – No Buick Hybrids for 2011.

    Cadillac – No Cadillac Hybrids found for 2011.

    Cheverolet – Well, it’s finally (almost) here. The Chevy Volt promises to be a game changer in the hybrid world.

    Image for the Volt from Chevy.

    Using the power of “more than 200 lithiom-ion battery cells,” the Volt is able to travel up to 40 miles on a single charge without using the gas-generator to create electricity to take it extra distances. Chevy claims its first-ever plug-in gas/electric hybrid car will arrive by the end of 2010.

    Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep – While hybrid cars are still more popular than hybrid trucks and SUVs, that’s not stopping Dodge from trying the hybrid market (again) in 2011 with the Dodge Ram Pickup 1500 Hybrid scheduled to launch at the end of summer 2010.

    Ford – With its fifth year in production, Ford is set to roll out the 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid soon.


    Image for the Escape Hybrid from Edmunds.

    The new Escape Hybrid will get the same fuel efficiency as the previous model of 34 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, which is still impressive in the compact crossover SUV category.


    Image for the Fusion Hybrid from Edmunds.

    Ford is also set to launch the 2011 model Fusion Hybrid. In its second year of production, the Fusion Hybrid is proving to be a contender in the hybrid market.

    GMC – No GMC Hybrids found for 2011.

    Honda – Honda describes their newest hybrid model as, “fun to drive,” and it looks it. The 2011 Honda CR-Z is sleek, sporty and dare I say a little sexy, too.


    Image for the CR-Z from Honda.

    This two-seater hybrid gets about the same EPA-Estimated mpg as a Smart Car but offers more storage (and more leg room?), the Honda reputation and a competitive price range.

    Hyundai – Hyundai has a new Sontata Hybrid rumored to be released this year. With the non-hybrid model already launched, it may be likely that the Sonata Hybrid won’t make the list this year.

    Infiniti – Whether it’s a 2011 or a 2012 model, Inifiniti is set to launch it’s first hybrid model soon along with the 2011 M class luxury line. As confusing as the release date is, it is clear that this is the auto manufacturer’s first hybrid model, and will be a welcomed change in the luxury car world.

    Kia – According to a Kia press release, along with a new body style, the Kia Optima will also be available as “…the brand’s first-ever hybrid in the U.S. (available in 2011) – which deliver[s] class-leading power and fuel economy while the latest technology features and luxury amenities are available at the touch of a button or a simple voice command.”


    Image for the Optima hybrid from Kia.

    The body style of the new Optima is also wider, longer and lower to the ground than the previous style. With all new features and a new hybrid option, looks like Kia is getting a major upgrade.

    Lexus – Apparently, some hybrids are not just about getting the best fuel efficiency possible and saving the planet. Enter the 2011 Lexus CT 200h that, while it is a hybrid, can turn on a sport mode to transform this eco-friendly wagon into a speed racer with all the normal handling Lexus is famous for.


    Image for the Lexus CT 200h from Lexus.

    With four different driving modes (EV, ECO, Normal and Sport), this is clearly not your average family sedan. Lexus doesn’t list the MPG on their list of Specs, but their press release does mention that it will come with a Nickel-Metal Hydride battery. Who needs to worry about MPG when you’ve at least got the hybrid battery?

    Lincoln – Ok, I was starting to get skeptical when I read the first few lines on the Lincoln website about their hybrid, stating the new MKZ Hybrid is “projected to be the most fuel-efficient luxury car in America.” It seems nearly all the hybrid cars are toting similar tag lines and simply swapping out the words that allows them to legally make these claims. Anyway, I had to keep reading to get more info, and I’m glad I did.


    Image for the MKZ Hybrid from Lincoln.

    Not only does the MKZ Hybrid boast a 41 city mpg (36 hwy), but Lincoln also took extra steps to make this luxury car more eco-friendly. “Hand-crafted eco-conscious Bridge of Weir leather [and] olive ash wood trim from sustainably sourced forests” help this car push the standards on eco-conscious design and not to mention the fact that it’s all packaged in Lincoln luxury.

    Mercedez-Benz – No Mercedez-Benz Hybrids found for 2011.

    Mercury – According to Edmunds.com, there will be two new Mercury Hybrid models for the 2011 year, but it looks like Mercury is saying otherwise with the end of the Mercury brand scheduled for the end of this year.

    Mitsubishi – No Mitsubishi Hybrids found for 2011.

    Nissan – There are currently, no Nissan Hybrids for 2011, but the Nissan Leaf should be a huge hit.

    Pontiac – No Pontiac Hybrids found for 2011.

    Porsche – While Porsche is widely associated with the early history of cars, it is also associated  with the early history of hybrid cars, so it should be no surprise that finally Porsche is launching a hybrid option. It will be a hybrid model of their Cayenne S.

    Image for the Cayenne S Hybrid from Porsche.

    While Porsche hasn’t officially (as of this post) released this 300 horsepower hybrid crossover’s estimated fuel consumption, it will run with a V6 engine and maintain the all-wheel drive of the previous non-hybrid Cayenne models.

    Saab – No Saab Hybrids found for 2011.

    Saturn – No Saturn Hybrids found for 2011.

    Subaru – No Subaru Hybrids found for 2011.

    Toyota – Starting at a cool $19,595 (MSRP), the 2011 Camry Hybrid may be the most affordable mid-sized sedan Hybrid.


    Image for the Camry Hybrid from Toyota.

    Not much seems to have changed from the previous model, but hey, if “nothing’s broke, don’t fix it,” right?

    Volkswagen – A noticeably lower-to-the-ground version of the previous Touaregs, the first hybrid from VW looks good.

    Image for the European model Touareg Hybrid from VW.

    VW is boasting more cargo space, lighter body, the largest panoramic sunroof of all SUVs and obviously, reduced fuel consumption. Add the hybrid to their expanding list of clean diesel cars, and it’s easy to see where VW is heading for the future.

    Volvo – No Volvo Hybrids for 2011.